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Clinton Portis ran for 228 yards on Cardinals in 2002 while hungover

Broncos running back Clinton Portis gains positive yardage in the during 2nd quarter of todays game between the Denver Broncos and the Arizona Cardinals at Invesco Field at Mile High. While the Broncos beat the Cardninals 37 to 7 it was not enough to land them in the playoffs. (CRAIG F. WALKER/THE DENVER POST) (Photo By Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Being drafted into the NFL is more than a good enough reason to celebrate.

But rookies that are getting paid to play football for the first time quickly need to learn the balance between work and pleasure, as too much of the latter is a recipe for disaster.

For former running back Clinton Portis, however, it almost served as a performance booster. Well, for one particular game in his career anyway.

Portis was drafted in the second round (No. 51 overall) by the Denver Broncos in the 2002 NFL Draft out of Miami.

That year, the Broncos hosted the Arizona Cardinals in the final game of the regular season. It was an absolute route in Denver’s favor, as the Broncos won the game, 37-7.

But it was Portis’ performance on the day that grabbed the headlines. More specifically, the condition in which he did it in.

The former Bronco had the best game of his career, rushing for 228 yards on 24 carries (9.5 yards per carry) and found paydirt twice, all while being hungover, Portis told “Untold Stories” with Master Tesfatsion.

He explained that “in Denver, the entire team partied together.”

With Week 17 marking the completion of all rookie’s first season, the veterans on the team, including Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, took the first-year NFL players out for “rookie night” on the Friday before Sunday’s game.

But the night didn’t end until 5 a.m. Saturday morning and the group built up a $20,000 tab. The nightlife festivities resulted in Portis being so sick on Sunday that he intended to tell then-Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan that he was unable to play against the Cardinals.

“I was in worse condition on Sunday than I was Friday or Saturday,” Portis said.

That’s when Sharpe came to the rescue. The Hall of Famer stopped Portis and instructed him to run it out outside and do contrasting hot and cold whirlpools until he felt better.

Portis would run 100-yard sprints before the game that caused him to be “hurling everywhere.” But Sharpe’s hangover cure regiment worked.

“It’s so crazy because that was the best game I ever had in the NFL. … and I was hungover. Like, totally done,” Portis said.

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